Martial Law victims to Duterte: Reconsider Marcos burial

Mara Cepeda
President Duterte has hoped the Supreme Court decision will bring closure. A petitioner says the contrary will happen, and the issue will be enflamed.

FIGHT CONTINUES. Despite the SC ruling, anti-Marcos groups plan to continue protesting against a hero's burial for the late strongman. Photo by LeAnne Jazul/Rappler

MANILA, Philippines – One of the petitioners against a hero’s burial for Marcos said on Tuesday, November 8, they would consider filing a motion for reconsideration with the Supreme Court (SC), but at the same time aired an appeal to President Rodrigo Duterte to just drop his order altogether.

Former party-list representative Neri Colmenares acknowledged that, after the High Court ruled, pushing through with the dictator’s burial at the Libingan ng mga Bayani (Heroes’ Cemetery) would be the President’s discretion. It was Duterte’s order to begin with that petitioners questioned before the SC. 

Colmenares expressed hope Duterte would change his stand on Marcos’ burial because insisting on it would accomplish the reverse of his pursuit for closure on the issue.

“In the end, discretion ng Presidente…kung tingin ni President Duterte na ‘di naman pala ma-achieve ‘yung purpose niya, which is closure – in fact, the contrary will happen, lalo pang ma-enflame ang issue at lalo pang maungkat ang issue taon-taon – so baka mag-iba siya ng isip,” said Colmenares. 

(In the end, it’s the President’s discretion…if he sees that the ruling will not achieve his purpose, which is closure – in fact, the contrary will happen, that the issue will be enflamed and discussed yearly – he might change his mind.)

But for Selda national coordinator Father Dionito Cabillas, the SC decision will not bring comfort to the victims of the Marcos regime.

“Naniniwala si President Duterte na magkakaisa na ang mga Pilipino, maghihilom na ang mga sugat. Pero para sa mga biktima ng Martial Law, hindi maghihilom ang mga sugat na kanilang nararanasan,” Cabillas said.

(President Duterte believes that the decision will unite Filipinos, the wounds will heal. But for the Martial Law victims, their wounds will never heal.)

Fight continues 

Carmencita Florentino said other Martial Law victims like her will continue the fight. (READ: Women victims tell SC of Martial Law torture)

“Sa panig naming mga biktima, masakit nga, ‘no, kasi parang pagyurak ‘yan sa ating mga Pilipino, sa lahat, hindi lang para sa amin kung ‘di para sa susunod pang henerasyon. Itutuloy pa rin namin ang laban,” said the 65-year-old Florentino.

(For us victims, this is painful because it’s like trampling on all Filipinos, not just us but including the next generation. The fight continues.)

Florentino, her husband Ernesto, and their only daughter Gemma were dragged by soldiers from their house in Tatalon, Quezon City, on June 18, 1977. Florentino and her daughter stayed in different cells inside Camp Crame for a month. Ernesto, meanwhile, was detained at Camp Bagong Diwa for 3 months.

While anti-Marcos groups were disheartened by the SC decision, Marcos loyalists rejoiced over the court’s 9-5.

No less than President Rodrigo Duterte himself promised during the campaign period to bury Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani because the latter is a former president and soldier.

The late strongman’s children, Ilocos Norte Governor Imee Marcos and former Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr, both thanked the High Court and called for “national healing.” (READ: Imee Marcos ‘delighted’ over SC ruling, tells critics to ‘let it go’)

On Tuesday night, rallies were staged in key cities nationwide to protest the SC’s decision. – Rappler.com 

Mara Cepeda

Mara Cepeda specializes in stories about politics and local governance. She covers the Office of the Vice President, the Senate, and the Philippine opposition. She is a 2021 fellow of the Asia Journalism Fellowship and the Reham al-Farra Memorial Journalism Fellowship of the UN. Got tips? Email her at mara.cepeda@rappler.com or tweet @maracepeda.